Energy drink hospitalizations more common among young adults

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    Young adults aged 18 to 25 are more likely to visit the emergency room because of consuming energy drinks than people in other age groups.

    A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated young adults have a higher risk for hospitalization from the use of energy drinks than people in other age groups.

    SAMHSA’s report arrives in the midst of the FDA’s investigation of adverse events associated with certain energy drinks and energy shots, including the popular energy drink brand Monster. The FDA is investigating five such cases that resulted in death.

    According to SAMHSA, between 2007 and 2011 the number of energy drink-related emergency department visits for people aged 18 to 25 nearly doubled.

    According to the SAMHSA report, “In each year from 2007 to 2011, patients aged 18 to 25 were more commonly involved in energy drink-related ED visits, followed by patients aged 26 to 39.”

    Yvonne Lin Giovanis, associate director of the university's Alcohol and Drug Education Center, said individual interviews with university students by center counselors have reflected alarming consumption rates of energy drinks. Because of this, Giovanis said counselors are beginning to collect data from students about energy drink consumption to measure the extent of the problem.

    SAMHSA's report states the amount of caffeine energy drinks contain varies, but certain energy drinks contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine, which is five times the amount of caffeine found in a 5-ounce cup of coffee.

    According to the SAMHSA article, consuming energy drinks can cause “insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures that [severity] require emergency care.” Despite these health risks, SAMHSA's article states energy drinks remain popular.

    “An energy drink is not necessarily bad for you, just like having a couple cups of coffee in and of itself is not bad for you. I think It’s about teaching our students what are appropriate levels of consumption for themselves,” Giovanis said.

    TCU students should be aware of their own underlying health conditions, the kinds of medications they take and what their own tolerance is for the supplements in energy drinks before consuming them, Giovanis said.

    According to SAMHSA, “among college students, there are associations between energy drink consumption and problematic behaviors such as marijuana use, sexual risk taking, fighting, smoking, drinking and prescription drug misuse.”

    Giovanis said students may be unaware of the quantity of energy drinks they consume or the quantity of alcohol they consume with those energy drinks. They may also be unaware that the side effects they experience with the consumption of energy drinks and alcohol are potentially dangerous.